Published: 11:48, 22 November 2019
| Updated: 13:32, 24 November 2019
A decision on whether to allow the extension of a wind farm off the coast of Thanet has been delayed.
Swedish energy group Vattenfall has submitted plans to extend Thanet Offshore Wind, with up to 34 more wind turbines opposite the existing wind farm off Foreness Point near Cliftonville.
The scheme would have a capacity of up to 340MW and would be capable of supplying renewable electricity annually to the equivalent of about 282,000 UK homes.
The government was due to make a decision next month, more than a year after plans were submitted, but this has now been pushed back after a request for more information was made by the Secretary of State for business, energy and industrial strategy Andrea Leadsom.
In a letter to bosses at Vattenfall, Gareth Leigh, head of energy infrastructure planning at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, says there are number of details still needed including submissions from interested parties, particularly concerning the development consent order (DCO).
A DCO is the permission needed by government for developments considered as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP), including energy, transport, water and waste projects.
Mr Leigh wrote: "The Secretary of State is aware the applicant submitted changes to the draft development consent order late in the examination and, as a result, interested and other parties were not afforded a full opportunity to submit their views on the applicant’s changes.
"The Secretary of State therefore invites comments from any interested or other party on the draft development consent order which incorporates these changes."
The decision on whether the plans could go ahead was due to be made on December 11.
A statement confirming the new deadline for a decision will be made to the House of Commons and House of Lords once Parliament is in session.
Bosses at Vattenfall say the extension of the wind farm will help Thanet prosper through providing jobs, while also contributing to the fight against climate change and a fossil fuel free future.
"If Thanet extension joins our Kent cluster of offshore wind farms it will allow Vattenfall to expand our existing workforce of 75 people currently working from our Ramsgate operations and maintenance base," a spokesman said.